Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

to snatch such articles from the hands of unsuspicious ladies, make off with his spoil, following a light cart, in which the defendant and his wife were seated. In due course the purloined article was taken from the dog by its owner, who was then apprehended and charged, as stated. Eventually the case against him was dismissed. I am told that the dog did the trick well; still it is scarcely right to train any creature to such a dishonest practice. Then about the same time another retriever saved a child from drowning in the Thames, the owner, unable to swim himself, sending in his dog to the rescue of the struggling infant, who had fallen off the tow-path, and was being washed away by the receding tide. Not long ago an interesting presentation took place at Cardiff, the captain of a Liverpool steam ship being presented with the bronze medal of the Board of Trade for saving life, under the following circumstances: A boat was capsized when leaving a wreck, the occupants being thrown into the heavy sea ; Captain Nickels twice swam out into the surf and saved four men from drowning. But he was assisted greatly by a retriever dog, who later, when his master, Mr. Pengelly, who had been assisting in the rescue, was about exhausted and struggling in the water, seized him by the collar and brought him safely to land, otherwise he would have lost his life. The dog was presented with a new collar, which he well deserved. In many deer forests in Scotland retrievers are used in connection with deer stalking, and are said to be more useful in bringing to bay a wounded stag than the ordinary deerhound. Indeed, a good-tempered dog of the retriever kind, when nicely trained, is a most useful animal, but when kept as a watch dog chained to a barrel in the backyard, or allowed to follow the gutter for a livelihood, he is treacherous in the extreme, and as such to be avoided. If you require a retriever for show purposes, buy one to answer your requirements; but, if such a dog is required for work, either by land or water or both, do not mind what colour or shape he may be, so long as his character for intelligence and tenderness is satisfactory. Beware of the hard-mouth, of that cold unlovable face and light yellow eye that denote ill-nature and querulousness that in the end will lead to mischief. You, perhaps, will not be able to get hold of such dogs as two or three "H.H.”so pleasantly mentions in his practical and valuable work, “The Scientific Education of Dogs for the Gun.” One that broke from the bush the bough upon which the lost fly cast hung, and ran eighty yards down stream

to break the ice in order that the wounded duck could come to the hole to breathe, and so be caught. Colonel Hutchinson tells us of another retriever that

[ocr errors]

was in the habit of acting as “whipper-in” where the spaniels were concerned, seizing any dog of the team in his mouth and giving it a good shaking for not “ down charging” when required, or for rushing in front of the remainder of the team, with which it worked, and trying to demolish the wounded pheasant.

Retrievers that perform such feats as the above are not of every day occurrence, and are only to be made by constant companionship with an owner who understands their every movement, and can read what is passing in their minds by looking into their eyes.

CHA PT E R XIX.
THE SPANIEL.

DOG shows, and the consequent breeding for socalled fancy points, have completely altered the character of our English spaniels—at least, of a majority of those we see winning in the rings nowadays. Such are, as a rule, quite a different article to the animal old painters placed upon their canvases, and which writers of previous generations described in the pages of their volumes.

There is no doubt that the spaniel, as he is generally known, preceded the setter, who was produced from him, and was trained to “sett” game long before the pointer came to be introduced to this country. It has been said both came from Spain originally, a country that was also stated to be the home of the British bulldog. Surely the land of sherry wine and bull fights has much to answer for, and may be deemed fortunate in obtaining the reputation of being the original manufacturer of such valuable animals.

Juliana Barnes, or Berners, wrote of spaniels in 1486, so did Dr. Keyes, or Caius; and later, in 1677, Nicholas Cox, in his “Gentleman's Recreation,” copied what both his predecessors had said about them, and added what remarks Gervase Markham had made on the same subject. Then we must not forget what Aldrovandus wrote early in the sixteenth century, and the engravings he gave of sundry varieties of the Spanish dog, which are described in a preceding chapter on the setter. One of these he called “pantherius,” because it was spotted, i.e., more or less ticked, as are many of the handsomer setters and spaniels of the present day.

In Cox's time, and earlier, the spaniel was in great measure used as an assistance in hawking, and he says “how necessary a thing it is to falconry I think nobody need question as well as to spring and retrieve a fowl being flown to the mark, and also in divers and other ways to help and assist falcons and goshawks.” He then alludes to cutting the tails of spaniels, about which he says, “it is necessary, for several reasons, to cut off the tip of a spaniel's stern when it is a whelp. First, by doing so worms are prevented from breeding there; in the next place, if it be not cut, he will be the less forward in pressing hastily into the covert after his game; besides this benefit, the dog

« ForrigeFortsett »